Liebherr to Supply Heat Exchangers for Space Inspire Satellites

By Editor 27-Nov-2021

Liebherr-Aerospace signed a contract with European space manufacturer Thales Alenia Space to provide heat exchangers for an innovative thermal control device of Space Inspire, short for “INstant SPace In-orbit REconfiguration”.

Liebherr-Aerospace Toulouse SAS, based in Toulouse (France), and Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67 %) and Leonardo (33 %), have signed a contract in which Liebherr will be the supplier of exchangers for Space Inspire.

Space Inspire is Thales Alenia Space’s new product line of telecommunications satellites, developed with the support of French and European Space Agencies CNES and ESA that will allow seamless telecommunication mission and services reconfiguration, instant in-orbit adjustment to the demand, unprecedented flexibility for video broadcasting and broadband connectivity services. Space Inspire is part of the new satellite family of Software Defined Satellites (SDS). Onboard Space Inspire is an innovative thermal control concept using several types of exchangers.

With the support of the French Plan d’Investissements d’Avenir (PIA) led by the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales and in collaboration with Thales Alenia Space, Liebherr-Aerospace has been investing in Research and Development of brand-new heat exchangers that meet the extreme demands of Space Inspire. Such demands include the ability to operate for at least 15 years without any type of maintenance while in space. This means that they must be completely free from leakage, extremely reliable - even during a rocket launch - and be able to operate flawlessly during this long period at high heat-exchange performances.

The thermal control sub-system function on a satellite is to maintain electronics payload installed in the satellite in a specific temperature range. Exchangers ensure the collection of the electronics power and its distribution to thermal radiators.

Since the partnership with Thales Alenia Space and Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) was formed last year, Liebherr-Aerospace’s new exchangers have come a long way, passing thermal performance and mechanical robustness standards, with an enhanced design and weight optimization.

The telecommunication satellite fast-moving market is increasingly demanding in terms of reliability, high quality control and cost competitiveness. Liebherr has developed a whole new industrial manufacturing process that is both innovative and highly repeatable to be able to serially produce exchangers that meet such demands, focusing on reducing weight and cost while further increasing reliability.

Liebherr-Aerospace continues to invest in innovative heat exchangers aiming to further optimize thermal performances, weight, and cost from which not only geostationary telecommunication satellites, but also satellite constellations and manned space stations will benefit.